If you have ever bought a drone, or even just once considered buying one, then DJI must be a familiar name. This company, headquartered in Shenzhen, China, has long occupied the first position in the global consumer drone market, with a share of more than 70%.
Behind DJI’s signature consumer drones, there are thousands of top engineers devoting their intelligence and efforts to build innovative features. Guyue Zhou is one of the masterminds behind popular products like Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro. He joined DJI as an intern in 2012 while studying for his Ph.D. at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Zhou is well known for pioneering the autonomous piloting system of consumer drones, particularly for the drone’s onboard system architecture, multi-sensor perception algorithms, and application-level functions. He was a key executive and core leader of DJI, the world’s leading drone company. He founded vision and navigation R&D teams and the consumer-grade drone business group of DJI, leading hundreds of engineers.
DJI launched the world’s first intelligent consumer drone product, the DJI Phantom 4, in 2016. Zhou’s team delivered its core technology of vision navigation system and made significant technical contributions to system architectures and computing algorithms to the miniaturization of the onboard intelligent system.
Zhou also founded DJI’s intelligent manufacturing division, which aimed to improve the manufacturing quality and efficiency of consumer drones with information, automation, and robotic technologies. He led the department to standardize the calibration and testing process for consumer drones, which was massively adopted across the industry.
In 2017, Zhou’s team delivered DJI Spark, the world’s first palm-sized and gesture-controlled consumer drone. This product was ranked 4th place in Time’s list of “Best 10 Gadgets of 2017”.
In terms of research achievements, Zhou has published over 10 papers in international academic conferences and journals and won the Best Poster Award of IEEE 10th Embedded Vision Workshop adjunct with CVPR. Over 60 patents were granted to him and 24 of them are US patents, which were applied in all series of DJI drone products. He was also invited as a guest speaker at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Singapore in 2015.
Since November 2020, Zhou has been an associate professor at Institute for AI Industry Research (AIR) at Tsinghua University, focusing on robotics, computer vision, and computer graphics. He wanted to challenge the fast customization for intelligent drones to fulfill varied requirements from customers. Another big part of his research would also lie in smart transportation and AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things).
“The next problem in front of me is how to help potential users customize their required intelligent drones. I think it will cost more time and research to solve this and that is exactly why I joined Tsinghua University,” says Zhou. “I believe the interdisciplinary research is one of the important keys to produce the highly impactful work.”